KOMPAS.com - A $500 million U.S. fund to compensate relatives of 346 people killed in two fatal Boeing 737 Max crashes has opened, the claim administrators told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
The fund, which opened on Monday, is part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. Boeing Co. in January agreed to pay $500 million to compensate the heirs, relatives, and beneficiaries of the passengers who died in Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 in 2018 and 2019.
Each eligible family will receive nearly $1.45 million, and money will be paid on a rolling basis as claim forms are submitted and completed, said administrators Ken Feinberg and Camille Biros in a joint statement. Families have until October 15 to complete claim forms.
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The Justice Department and Boeing declined to comment.
The fund is part of a $2.5 billion Justice Department settlement reached in January with Boeing after prosecutors charged the company with fraud over the certification of the 737 Max following a Lion Air crash on October 29, 2018, and an Ethiopian Airlines disaster on March 10, 2019.
The settlement allowed Boeing to avoid criminal prosecution but did not impact civil litigation by victims' relatives that continues.
In July 2019, Boeing named Feinberg and Biros to oversee the distribution of a separate $50 million to the families of those killed in the crashes, and the new fund's distribution follows a similar formula.
While Boeing has mostly settled Lion Air lawsuits, it still faces numerous lawsuits in Chicago federal court by families of the Ethiopian crash asking why the Max continued flying after the first disaster.
The Justice Department settlement includes a fine of $243.6 million and compensation to airlines of $1.77 billion over fraud conspiracy charges related to the plane’s flawed design.